menu

Ambient Awareness and the Digital Village

Ambient Awareness and the Digital Village
technology
Christine Huang
  • 8 september 2008

At the same time, Thompson suggests, our increasingly documented and transparent online lives may be facilitating a warped return to Old World, small town social dynamics – where everyone ‘knows’ everything about everyone. 

…If you don’t dive in, other people will define who you are. So you constantly stream your pictures, your thoughts, your relationship status and what you’re doing — right now! — if only to ensure the virtual version of you is accurate, or at least the one you want to present to the world.

This is the ultimate effect of the new awareness: It brings back the dynamics of small-town life, where everybody knows your business. 

…“It’s just like living in a village, where it’s actually hard to lie because everybody knows the truth already,” [Sociologist Zeynep] Tufekci said. “The current generation is never unconnected. They’re never losing touch with their friends. So we’re going back to a more normal place, historically…”

An interesting evolution. This got us thinking, though: small town social dynamics are predicated on towns being, well, small. People knew each others’ business because on some (perhaps surface) level, they care about their fellow townsmen. And if they don’t, it’s still hard for them to exist outside of the town’s interconnected social structure and not be held accountable to their community.

Today our ‘small towns’ are ephemeral, virtual networks made up of hundreds of people, many of whom we hardly know (if at all), existing over a handful of different websites and platforms. The residents that make up our “villages” are only as real and permanent as the versions of themselves they choose to exhibit, and our relationship to them can vary in salience and significance depending on a number of variables and choices ranging from deliberate (setting new privacy options) to arbitrary (i.e. wireless availability) to superficial (whether or not one’s profile picture is ‘cute’ that day). Our small town is now an infinite world of revolving friends, strangers, and micro-celebrities. How will the mechanics of a village society work under these new conditions? Only time will tell… 

NY Times Magazine: I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You

technology
Trending

Garmin's New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

Design
Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Automotive Today

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Fitness / Sport Today

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Cognition Kit is a software platform that lets people track and better understand their cognitive states

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

Advertising Today

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Today

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

Automotive Yesterday

Reserve Your Parking Spot Before You Even Get Behind The Wheel

A new Ford app allows drivers to select and arrange for a space in a garage to be available at the end of their journey, so they can travel worry-free

No search results found.